March 11, 2015: #FuckCancer
I sincerely hope none of you have to go through this. It’s the worst thing in the world.
As if the ravaging disease wasn’t bad enough, the people who allegedly treat it are sometimes even worse. Oncologists who treat a patient like an ATM: Deposit group-approved chemo, withdraw insurance money. A fucking app could do that. Where’s the critical thinking to try to actually beat it?
And such oncologists don’t even want to hear about approaches that are different and are working. Anne Glauber, the patient in that piece, shows no signs of the awful cachexia that usually turns chemo victims into looking like a walking cadaver.
And then there’s the brutal irony of timing. Chemo becomes ineffective, the patient is told time is up, and then something like this appears in my Twitter feed …
“PR” means “Partial Response,” which has, among others, this definition:
A partial response or partial remission means the cancer partly responded to treatment, but still did not go away. A partial response is most often defined as at least a 50% reduction in measurable tumor. Here, when we refer to a remission it will generally mean a partial remission.
That could be huge news.
But the way clinical trials work, such news is held back until everything can be reported.
Which is brain-dead fucking stupid.
For pancreatic cancer, especially, news of a partial response should have caused headlines that would make oncologists aware of the alternative and alert patients that there was a chance for a different treatment that might actually do something.
Had such an alert been sent out just two months earlier, the currently days-away-from-dying patient might have been able to get into this clinical trial. The trial would have a larger pool of patients to work with and a larger set of data to analyze. To some degree, everyone would have won.
The further brutal irony of timing is the details of this partial response are being held back until a conference on November 30th. So this is like a knife in my belly that’s also being twisted.
As things stand at post time, the patient will likely die this week. Metastases to the liver are beginning what will become a cascade of organ failure. In the past month, there were already hospitalizations for transfusions because red count, hemoglobin, and even platelets, dropped to critical levels. With home hospice care now engaged, it’s unlikely a third set of transfusions would ever be considered even by an ER. It’d be just a small speedbump to the inevitable.
This explains why I’ve fallen behind in posting here. My time has been eaten up by all of this.
And when the patient dies, this blog might have to go into suspended animation for an undetermined period of time.
And no, I haven’t even gone further than this post with VR. That’s going to have to wait. Perhaps for a long time.